Research

Extinguishing Flames

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Putting out fires can be a difficult, water-intensive task. In this video, scientists demonstrate how using a non-Newtonian fluid can make it easier to extinguish and suppress flames. Where water tends to splatter and scatter against an object, a yield-stress fluid can cling and coat to smother the flame. The fluid used here is water with a 0.1% polymer additive, which is enough to significantly change the fluid’s rheological properties. Pre-treating flammable objects with the fluid is also effective at suppressing combustion, raising additional possibilities for using such techniques in fighting the spread of wildfires. (Video credit: B. Blackwell et al.)

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